First day blues

Back to school is always hard for me, though not because I miss my kids. I feel the same relief as all the other SAHMs when the kids head off to school. No, it's because my husband has to go back to work, too. It's so lovely to have him around all summer, especially when there's a very rambunctious toddler in the family. We do role reversal all summer: he takes care of the kids most of the time, while I do my own thing. This summer, I started a little home business. Little in the scheme of things, but A Very Big Deal to me, with huge emotional investment. It is painful to have to cut back my time on that and go back to being the SAHM while he goes off to work. And I miss him.

I knew in advance that Lena's teacher was new to our school, and that she was young, but I didn't learn until this afternoon that this is her very first teaching job. I really liked her this morning: she seemed poised, confident, and sweet. But now that I know she's new to teaching I'm all worried. And yet I feel so stupid for worrying because first of all, this morning, before I knew, I thought she was great. And second, everyone has to start some time. Heck, I'm married to a teacher. Why not give her the benefit of the doubt? And third, Lena's not a particularly high-maintenance kid; she'll probably do fine wherever she is. And fourth, since Miss Smith is fresh from school she's presumably full of all the latest theories and ideas and so forth. She's probably super-motivated. And yet, and yet. There are a couple of very high-maintenance kids in the class. Well, I signed up to volunteer in the classroom, so I'll be able to keep an eye on her, at least for an hour a week! :)

One of the high-maintenance kids in the class is a little girl who, at the beginning of kindergarten last year, could not write or spell her own name or recognize most of the letters of the alphabet. She appears to be economically disadvantaged. No parent or guardian of hers was ever seen at any school event. She had no address or phone number listed in the directory. She diverts attention away from her academic difficulties with bad behavior. She has no idea how to get along with other kids. Once last year she said to my daughter: "Lena, you're a bad girl, and I'm going to tell you that every day!" I tried many times to get Lena to see the sadness of the situation, how this girl is trying to be Lena's friend but just doesn't know positive ways of getting attention, how often she herself has probably been called a bad girl, etc. When she saw Lena in the hallway this morning she ran right up to her and gave her a great big bear hug. Which Lena hated, but didn't break away from. And which made me a little teary, the poignancy of it.

Joey's going to have a great year. His teacher is also pretty new to teaching, but not brand new. I do know she's very creative with lesson plans. Even better, he was (deliberately?) put in a class separate from his two best pals. He was devastated, but I'm glad. The fewer the distractions, the better.

Daniel started off the school year by waking us up at 5 am. By late afternoon it was apparent that he had some kind of stomach bug, resulting in some extremely unpleasant diapers. Ew!

Sorry for rambling & bad grammar, but I've been up since 5 am and I am So Fried. Good night!


  • Ouch. Good luck with the stomach bug....

    I loved your vignette about Lena and her classmate, despite the sadness of it...her "you're a bad girl, and I'm, going to tell you that every day" statement made me cry. Those words can't have come directly from the mind of a 5 year old. How many times has she had that said to her? Your explanations to Lena give me hope that our children will grow to be fine adults, who love and care for each other. Good work Julie.

    posted by Blogger Mummy/Crit on 8:50 AM  

  • I checked to see who Joey had but forgot to check for Lena. Now I know. Ave has Mrs. Caviani, which you raved about when Joey had her. He's also separated from Chase, his partner in crime. So I have high hopes for this year.

    Sorry to hear that school's start means your loss of companionship from your husband as well as the loss of time from your (awesome) business.

    Speaking of which, I need to call you...

    Also, I'm behind but I have loved your recent posts. I laughed at LOTR. I envied the bloggers who are getting to meet each other. And I wished I'd read Kite Runner so I could weigh in on your poll. I loved Pi and have Kite Runner on the night stand. But alas, I'll be too late to contribute to your highly scientific study.


    posted by Blogger doulicia on 10:10 AM  

  • You brought Lena up right. She's just spreading the love--you have every reason to feel gushing gobs of pride!

    posted by Blogger Running2Ks on 12:15 PM  

  • The first day of school is always hard. I already had to send in a note to my daughter's teacher about the lamest thing - milk money - so I have probably already branded myself the psycho-mom. What is your home business, if you don't mind my asking?

    posted by Blogger NixieKnox on 8:00 PM  

  • It is a mixed bag when school starts, isn't it?

    It's funny how you mentioned a new teacher. I'm giving up three classes to an intern this year; it's difficult because I'm such a hands-on person and don't want to leave anything to chance.

    It'll be a delicate balance to ensure I watch him, yet letting go a bit to ensure he gets all he needs.

    posted by Blogger Fred on 9:16 PM  

  • I'm only on my third year, but right now it feels like my best year was my first: all my enthusiasm and learning was fresh. I'm better at it now, but I don't bring that excitement to it. I'm feeling bitter, so I should just stop talking.

    Yeah, what is your home business?

    posted by Anonymous Laura on 11:03 PM  

  • Happy back to school! Sorry it was met with such smelliness.

    I hope that your kids enjoy their teachers and that Joey will bounce back from not having his friends in class.

    posted by Blogger SuzanH on 8:19 PM